fruit and cheese board

A Step by Step Guide: How to Assemble a Simple Charcuterie Board


A beautifully arranged, simple charcuterie board is all the rage nowadays. There are so many different shapes, sizes, flavors, and assortments you can implement to create an amazing board. It can be super overwhelming, so I’m breaking down for you a simple step-by-step guide on how to assemble a beautiful yet simple charcuterie board.

Step 1: Choose your board

One of the easiest tricks to building a simple charcuterie board that looks really good is by using a super cool board. Whether this is something you found at an antique shop or hobby lobby or something you repurposed, find something unique and fun. Ok, even a simple board will do, but you can really add some pizazz to your board by using a fun and stylish board of some sort!

You’ll want to make sure it’s a good shape and size depending on how big of a board you’re trying to make. Keep in mind, the edges of your board are the main part that will be visible. You’ll want to fill the board to the max. A fuller charcuterie board always looks much more appealing than a bare or empty one. 

Keep that in mind when selecting which platter you’re going to use.

Step 2: Start with cheese

For whatever reason, rule number one is start with the cheese. Once you’ve selected which cheese you’re using, place them on your board. You can try cutting them into different shapes and thicknesses. Even add in some whole pieces for a “whole foods vibe.” Make sure you leave room for all of the other stuff though! The cheeses should take up about 1/4 of the board.

You really want to aim for variety. You want different firmness, textures, colors and smells. A basic rule of thumb that you can use with cheeses is to is to try and select a soft cheese, a firm and a hard cheese. But you can also do whatever arrangement of cheeses you’d like. This will give you a good variety.

Best cheese for charcuterie boards:

Soft and creamy: Brie, Camembert, Mozzarella, Burrata
Firm: Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Edam, Gouda
Hard: Pecorino, Parmesan, Pepato, Romano, Asiago
Aged: Gouda, Sharp Cheddar, Gruyere
Crumbly: Goat, Feta
Smoked: Smoked Gouda, Provolone, Cheddar
Blue: Gorgonzola, Stilton, Roquefort

Step 3: Add in the meats

After you’ve added in the cheese, you’ll fill the board to about 1/2 full with meats. 

Like the cheese, you want a variety of meats. Different types, shapes, textures, and flavors. It’s a good idea to match, or at least stay relative to, the number of cheese you select. You don’t want to select one cheese and 8 meats. The meats and cheeses are the base of the board so keeping these balanced is a good practice.

Best meats to use for your charcuterie board:

Mild: Genoa
Spicy: Chorizo
Smoky: Ham
Soft: Proscuitto, Pate
Medium: Calabrese
Hard: Salami

Step 4: Layer in crackers and bread

So you started with the cheese and placed that on the empty board, then you moved onto the meats. Now you add in the crackers to fill in more of the gaps. Crackers should fill the board a little over 3/4s full. At the end, you want the board to not have gaps and to appear very full and beautiful. So just keep that in mind when spacing everything out. 

You can fan out crackers, lay them messily, but breadsticks in a small little jar, Just have fun with it, and with each ingredient just try to set it up a little different than the last. If you laid the crackers in a straight line, lay the next ones with a curve. Just try to mix it up and be creative. There’s really no right or wrong way to do it, just make it yours!

When choosing which crackers and bread to use, as we’ve mentioned many times, choose a variety. Different shapes, sizes, thickness, sweet, salty, etc. Make em all different and all yummy!

#1 Rule when making any simple charcuterie board: Every ingredient doesn’t need to steal the show, but every ingredient should be selected with intention and purpose. Don’t waste space on the board for anything mediocre or blah.

Step 5: Add the condiments and spreads

Now that your board is pretty full, fill in all the gaps to 100% full with condiments and spreads. You can use cute little jars or containers, or spread the extras straight onto the board. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle a few here and a few there. Just fill in all the holes and make the board beautiful!

Nuts: Almonds, Candied Pecans, Walnuts
Seasonal Fruit: Sliced apples, pears, grapes, figs
Dried Fruit: Apricots, cherries, dates, cranberries
Condiments: Honey, preserves, fruit paste, mustard
Savory: Olives, marinated/pickled vegetables, cornichons

Step 6: Add herbs and refine

Now that you’ve added all of the different elements to your beautiful, yet simple charcuterie board, take a step back and straighten or fix anything that needs to be fixed. A really fun and easy way to elevate your board is to throw in some sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme. This makes the board feel even more fresh and natural. 

Whatever you can do that is simple and easy to take your board to the next level, do it! 

I hope this guide helps you make a bomb af simple charcuterie board for your next get together! I believe in you and think that by following these simple steps you can totally make an insta-worthy board that all of your guests will love!

Inspiration for your simple charcuterie board

Need some inspiration? Check out some of the charcuterie masters for ideas and tips to make your baords even better!

That Charcuterie Chick
That Cheese Plate
The Rustic Board
The Platter Girl

A Step by Step Guide: How to Assemble a Simple Charcuterie Board

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